Nutanix hires Cisco veteran as new Australian boss

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Nutanix hires Cisco veteran as new Australian boss

Nutanix has named former Cisco executive Howard Fyffe as its new managing director for  Australia and New Zealand.

He fills the shoes of outgoing boss Wayne Neich, who has taken an Asian role looking after Nutanix's Dimension Data relationship.

As part of a 13-year career with Cisco, Fyffe held a number of roles, including APAC data centre practice lead and director of its internet of things division. He joined the networking giant through its acquisition of Top Spin in 2005 and relocated to Australia in 2010.

Nutanix has been on a fast growth trajectory in Australia, now employing 40 people in its headquarters in Sydney, the site of a technical assistance centre that, along with TACs in Amsterdam, Raleigh, North Carolina and San Jose, provides follow-the-sun support. Further Nutanix staff are based interstate.

This has included expansion of its channel, which is serviced by dual distributors Exclusive Networks and Avnet. Nutanix recently appointed channel director Niall O’Gorman, who is currently recruiting another channel manager for his team.

One of the big pushes for the channel team will be Nutanix's SMB appliance, Xpress, which starts at US$25,000 and can power up to 500 virtual machines. Datacom scored Australia's first Xpress deployment, sourcing the solution through distributor Exclusive Networks.

Clashing with Cisco

The hyperconverged startup has been known to clash heads with Fyffe's former employer, most recently after Cisco refused to publicly support Nutanix's latest offering, despite the fact it runs on Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS).

Earlier this year, the pair lobbed verbal grenades at one another following Cisco's launch of its own HyperFlex Systems range of hyperconverged infrastructure, based on technology from Springpath, a California-based startup founded by former VMware storage engineers.

Fyffe said the arrival of Cisco and other hardware leaders, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise and EMC, in the hyperconverged market "certainly validates the space".

"There will be room for Fords and Holdens," added Fyffe.

He conceded that these hardware vendorsa were "formidable' competitors. "These are big and successful sales forces. We need to educate the market on what we do. We have a culture of being humble but hungry."

For Fyffe, Nutanix's advantages over rival systems include multi-hypervisor support, covering Hyper-V, VMware vSphere ESX and its own skew of Linux-based KVM, dubbed Acropolis. He said other benefits include "one-click upgrades" and Nutanix's Prism management console.

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